A project we’ve been following since we first discovered it in late 2010, from director Carl Franklin (Devil In A Blue Dress, One False Move), called Bless Me, Ultima, based on Rudolfo Anaya’s award-winning novel of the same name, which chronicles the turbulent coming-of-age story of Antonio, a young boy growing up in New Mexico during World War II, and his relationship with Ultima, an elderly medicine woman who helps Antonio navigate the dangerous battle between good and evil raging in his village, and ultimately helps him discover his own spiritual identity.
The project was actually announced in early 2009, with Franklin also functioning as screenwriter.
Based on the 40 year old novel, which has reportedly been a challenge to adapt to screen, because of its content, and style, the narrative has been described as “Magical realism.”
Also, the book was reportedly banned and burned by several groups, and it ranked highly on the American Library Association’s list of banned/challenged books from 2000 to 2009; apparently, many opposed “the profanity and the alternative religious content.“
Although the novel is said to be a reading requirement in high schools across the USA.
The film was shot on location in New Mexico, with a cast and crew made up mostly of New Mexicans.
And the wait is finaly over, because Bless Me, Ultima opens in limited theatrical release (about 25 – 30 cities in the USA), TODAY, February 22, followed by a much wider roll-out, which will see it expand to over 200 screens across the country.
So it looks like many of us will be able to check out Mr Franklin’s latest big screen work. It’s been awhile. His last big screen release was Out Of Time in 2003 – 10+ years ago, just about. Although since then, he’s been directing lots of episodic TV.
To find out if it’s playing at a theater near you, click HERE and enter your zip code.
For a glimpse at what to expect, watch the USA release trailer embedded below: